Parents tend to squirm or blush in general when discussing sex with their children. As it shouldn’t be just one discussion, and should be incorporated into your family’s set of values, it helps to be more comfortable with the topic. But the straight parent of a gay, lesbian or bisexual teen has an even tougher time because the sex acts they’re discussing in our society are regarded by many as taboo or stigmatized.
Abstinence-only Sex Education Does Little for GLBT Students
If your GLB teen attends a school where abstinence-only sex education is taught, then he will not receive appropriate information because this type of sex ed. espouses that the only place to have sex is within a heterosexual marriage. Because this message is lost on your child, it would be better if youinform him about condoms, birth control, and sexual expression which the abstinence-only takeaway does not cover.
Low Birth Rates but High Incidence of Venereal Diseases
There is no right time for discussing sex with your kids, but as April is sexually transmitted disease (STD) awareness month, there is much visible information available to parents. Although The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the birth rates among women ages 15 to 19 fell in all but three states and that the teenage birth rate is the lowest since 1946, teens are still at risk from unprotected sex.
According to Dr. John Santelli, a professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia University, condom use in the 90’s is responsible for this lower birth rate. While parents may be relieved at these low birth rates, they should realize that the popular contraceptives that are used today such as pills, the patch, and perhaps the IUD do not block sexual infections as effectively as condoms. http://www.newyorktimes,april 27, 2012, “Teenage Birth Rate Is Lowest Since 1946” by Nicholas Bakalar
Do you know that sexually active adults between fifteen and twenty-four account for nearly half of all STD cases? They are four times more likely to have chlamydia and gonorrhea than the general population. http://www.cdc.gov/std/sam
What You Don’t See Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
What’s particularly scary is that many STDs don’t show any symptoms so your teen won’t suspect he/she has a problem. But untreated STDs can wreck havoc with their internal organs without them knowing. Untreated STDs in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, scarring, and infertility. They can also lower the immune system which can make you more vulnerable to becoming HIV-positive. Whether you’re a male or female, you can continue to infect other people. And not just with genital sex. Oral sex, kids need to be told, is NOT safe sex. Many STDs can be spread from mouths to genitals.
In my next blog, Part II, parents will learn about the tests their sexually active children should have and where to get them.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.